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DOH ‘incompetence’ affects gov't COVID-19 response —Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said the government's COVID-19 response in the past three months has been affected primarily by the "incompetence" of the Department of Health (DOH) on testing and reporting cases.

"There are other equally important peripheral issues involved here, one of which is the inability of DOH to test enough in order to assess the real situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country," Lacson said in a message.

"It is further made worse by not reporting the tests as conducted and the results accurately and in a timely manner. It is a basic management principle to base a sound decision on accurate information. Sad to say, this is not the case," he added.

The senator said there seems no solution and end in sight "mainly because of incompetence."

On the other hand, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH targets to test 1.5% of the 110 million Filipino population by the end of July.

She maintained that the country's health system is not overwhelmed amid the global pandemic because of the precautionary protocols that have been put in place in the past months.

Vergeire added that the testing capacity is continuously being strengthened but also pointed out that some operational issues are affecting the output of testing laboratories.

"Ito pong operational issues natin, logistics-wise napakalalking bagay po sa amin. May current international shortage on the different logistical supplies na kailangan ng isang laboratoryo na hindi madaling makuha sa panahong ito," she said, noting that the DOH continues to create partnerships with the private sector to augment the needed supplies.

The DOH official said the department is also doing emergency hiring of additional health human resources and encoders.

Lacson was one of the senators who signed a resolution in April asking for the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for alleged "failure of leadership."

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the government is doing what it can to improve the health situation.

"I can see that they are doing what they can given the situation we are in—late recognizance of the epidemic, hard headedness of some of us, and the viciousness of the virus, but we are coping," he said.

"We can criticize but we also just have to try and help," he added.

As of June 15, the Philippines' COVID-19 cases breached the 26,000 mark. The number of total recoveries is now 6,252 while the death toll is 1,098. —LDF, GMA News